The Start of Something

Today marked the start of the Fall semester at UMD. We’re starting a whole week early. No more starting after Labor Day for our campus. I supervise the Peer Educators who work in our office. These students are primarily juniors, with a few sophomores and seniors thrown in there. This is a group of students (this semester 7) who primarily assist other students who would like help on their resumes. The group does so much more than that though.

Today, the Peers met for the first time as a group. We covered the craziness of job fair season that we are entering (just to prepare people). We also just spent a good amount of time getting to know one another. I had the “brilliant” idea that when people introduced themselves they ask the group a question. Yeah, that took so much more time than I anticipated. Oh well, in the long run it’ll be worth it that we spent the time laying the groundwork for the year.

I see the potential in the group as a whole.
I see that we all have room to grow (including myself).
I see that each person brings her or his strengths.
I see opportunity for challenge and support.
I see great things from each of these students both in and out of our office.
I see that we’ve got a great team of Peer Educators for 2015-16.

Most of all, I’m happy to be their supervisor and I can’t wait to see what happens this year!

Rockies Wildflowers

I just got back from a wonderful 9 day vacation in Colorado. While I did a lot of different things (including a concert at Red Rocks & sampling some fabulous breweries), my favorite time of the whole trip was in Rocky Mountain National Park. The alpine area (well really the whole park) was absolutely stunning. While there, it was wildflower season. Here’s one of my favorite wildflower photos I captured:

Rockies Wildflower

Type Class

Over the past 12 weeks I have whole-heartedly participated in a class by Ali Edwards called Type. Ali is pretty big in the memory keeping/scrapbooking world and I’ve been reading her blog for a couple years now. I love that the core of her work is always the story. Type was a brand new class with a focus on ways to get words onto our projects in different ways. I waffled for weeks about taking the class. The class was kinda pricey, but I knew from previous experiences with Ali’s educational content that it would be worth the money. The night before the class was to start, I pulled the trigger and signed up for the class. I’m so happy I did! For 12 weeks, I’ve watched my memory keeping methods evolve and my Photoshop skills grow. I just finished the last lesson tonight, so I’m sure in the next few days and weeks I’ll have more thoughts on this class.

Each of the 12 weeks had a theme. For each week there was a handout with a main content presentation. Ali also would have 2-4 process videos of her putting together layouts or showing how to do something in Photoshop. There was also a message board to communicate with other class members and Ali along with a gallery where we could share our projects based on the lessons. I loved seeing what other people came up with. As I mentioned before, Ali’s educational content is top-notch. I have learned so much throughout the class. The class was also great to focus on after a busy day at work. It’s such a different mode of thinking. However, I have noticed that I’m using things I learned in the class at work. How cool is that?

Below are my pieces I made based on the week’s lesson.

Wk 1: Type Basics. No layout this week. It was super content heavy on all of the basics of type.

Wk 2: Type in Neat Little Lines & Rows. This week was about longer journaling on a layout. I used this opportunity to make a layout about my trip to Baltimore I took in 2011. I used the content from this blog post on the layout.

Deciding to Be More

Wk 3: Type Marriages. Pairing together different styles of font. I made a layout about my trip to Grant-Kohrs National Historic Site in Montana for this lesson. The page already had the Serif style font of “Grant-Kohrs” and I paired it with a wood chip piece with script.

Type Marriage GKNHS

Wk 4: Type vs. Type. This week was all about contrast. I used different styles of letters to spell out “North Dakota.”

Type vs Type ND

Wk 5 & Wk 6: Type Play. We had 2 weeks of different ways of how to “play” with type. I have 2 examples where I used letter stickers to repeat a word over and over again. Very fun way to use up some of that letter sticker stash I have.

Type Play MT

Type Play Travel

Wk 7: Type Stacks. This week was all about words stacked on top of one another. I don’t have a layout to show. However, this is a lesson I’ve used at work. I created type stacks for a new graphic representation of our career development plan. I went out on a limb & was super happy that my boss liked it so much.

Wk 8: Dear Type, I’m Over You. This was all about type over type or type in shapes. I used the idea as I was putting together the date card for a Project Life layout.

Over type June PL

Wk 9: Type by Hand. Yes! Using our own handwriting. I will often just use my own handwriting when I’m journaling on a layout. For this week, I had fun with a brush marker and wrote out “June” many times on a 4×6 card for a Project Life layout.

Type by Hand June PL

Wk 10: Type on Photos. Learned how to put fun type on photos in Photoshop. I used the word “weekend” from the digital download for the week.

Weekend photo type class

Wk 11: Type as Art. Making type artsy. I had a little fun in Photoshop with putting my name on a 4×6 card. I then added some word/phrase stickers to describe myself.

Type as Art PL Card

Wk 12: Type Story. This week was all about putting it together. I haven’t made a specific layout for the week yet. I’m looking forward to using all the lessons I’ve learned in Type for my future memory keeping projects.

What Makes Me Happy

My default mode is positive, optimistic, happy, however you want to describe it. This doesn’t mean I never get sad or upset. I just choose to look at the world with a glass-half-full attitude. This past week I started reading the book The Happiness Project with my blog friend Stephanie. The author started her year-long happiness project not because she was sad, she just thought her happiness could be greater.

As I was reading the lengthy intro and first chapter, I started thinking about what makes me happy. I also thought about what could make me happier, or things I think would definitely contribute to my happiness. Here’s my happiness list I brainstormed:

  • Documenting! (Love capturing the everyday, the special, & the beautiful)
    • Project Life
    • Scrapbooking, in general
    • Photography (especially nature)
    • Blogging
  • Color!
  • Expressing my creativity
  • Good design & typography
  • Reading
    • Books & blogs
  • Witnessing the creativity of others
    • In-person, Instagram, Pinterest, Blogs I read
  • Spending time with and talking to my family and friends
  • Music
  • Creating/Working on projects
    • Knitting & crocheting especially
  • Personal touches in addition to a well-thought out décor design
    • Show that you are actually investing yourself in your space
  • Talking to people who work in Higher Ed and what they’re excited about by the field
  • Crossing or checking off things on my to-do list
  • Helping/working with students
    • Love helping to celebrate their successes
    • Proud to watch them grow (especially my Peer Educators!)
  • Traveling
  • Coffee
  • Returning to my Favorites
    • Books: Pride & Prejudice, HP series, Divergent series
    • TV Shows: Gilmore Girls, West Wing, Army Wives
    • Movies: Julie & Julia, Jane Austen Book Club, Pride & Prejudice, The Devil Wears Prada, The Holiday
  • Fresh, in-season strawberries
  • Smell of fresh cut hay
  • Spending time next to Lake Superior (beach, walks, parks)
  • National & State Parks
  • Hiking
  • Really getting to know the students who work in my office
  • Singing to music really loudly in my car
  • Being able to provide opportunities for my students (blogging, presenting, etc)

It’s quite a long list and I’m guessing not totally complete

After making my initial list, I started going through my Project Life albums to see if there was anything I missed. I came across this quote I had included in one of the weekly spreads, “It is not joy that makes us grateful, it is gratitude that makes us joyful.” Reading that quote caused me to pause and reflect. To have joy (or happiness) we need to have gratitude (or appreciation, awareness, thankfulness, etc). Even just going through the process of making my happiness list helped me appreciate and be grateful that there are so many things in my life that bring me joy and happiness.

What’s on your happiness list?

5 Years of Blogging

Happy Birthday to my blog! I claimed my little corner of the internet 5 years ago today because I wanted to share my summer adventure of interning at EOU in Oregon. Since this birthday was a major milestone for the blog, I took some time to reflect about whole experience.

Columbia River Gorge

What I’ve learned by blogging the past 5 years:

  • Having a space to process and share my experiences (both work and non-work related) has helped me to actually take the time to do that processing.
  • The community of bloggers is huge. So huge, that there are many communities. I’ve met some really cool people and been introduced to so many new ideas
  • Honing my blogging skills on my own blog first, helped me to have the confidence to introduce the idea of starting a blog at my office. We’ve now had the blog going for two years! It’s given so many of the students who work for us, the space to share their stories and hone their voices. I have felt so proud to help guide them through the whole process of writing for a blog.
  • I like having a space to call my own.
  • Having the blog helps with other documentation. I’m still working on scrapbooking my Summer 2010 experience in Oregon (the adventure that started this whole blogging business). Those books are so rich with detail about my experiences because I’m able to print off the blog posts I wrote while I was in Oregon. There’s no way I’d be able to include that same level of detail if I was trying to recall those details now, 5 years later.

Canal Park Sunrise

5 Favorite Blogs to Read (I have many more blogs in my reader. These are at the top of my to-read list everyday.)

Ultimately, I just want to say thank you for reading. I know that I haven’t had all that many blog posts over the past year or so, so thanks for sticking around. Here’s to many more years of giving my story a voice and having a place to share it.

Ice on the Beach

I took advantage of the sunshine on Saturday and ventured to the east side of Duluth to Brighton Beach. Apparently, several other people had this same idea. It was packed. Like middle of the summer packed. Anyway, I was able to stand the cold for a little while and had some fun with my camera. Here’s one of my favorite shots of the ice.

Brighton Beach Ice